Second Chance Animal Shelter readies for opening

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Leanne Bloom, treasurer for Second Chance Animal Shelter, shows off some kennels that will be used to house small animals like cats.

ALPENA — The Second Chance Animal Shelter is built, a resale shop at the shelter is open, and it is providing important animal services to people and pets in Northeast Michigan.

Although the shelter has yet to house animals, the day is fast approaching where cats and dogs will have safe, comfortable, and hopefully short accommodations until they find homes.

Leanne Bloom, treasurer for Second Chance, said the concept of creating a 501(c)(3) and raising money to construct another shelter in Alpena began in 2018.

Now, a brand new facility complete with shiny new kennels and equipment is nearly ready to get going. She said there are a few more projects — like adding a fenced in area outside for the dogs and outfitting a couple rooms — that still need to be completed and then the state should issue the needed permit to begin housing animals.

Bloom said hiring a shelter manager and other staff is also on the not-too-distant horizon.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Cat trees and toys sit in one of the rooms at the new Second Chance Animal Shelter in Alpena. The scratch posts will be auctioned off at an upcoming event.

“It started over coffee with a small group of people who said ‘what if we had another shelter?’ What if we could do more for the animals because there are limited resources here and it took off from there,” she said. “Now we are in phase-two and we are looking at early next year where we can begin bringing in animals.”

The new shelter is located on Devere Drive off of M-32, just past Walmart. Bloom said the non-profit group secured a long-term lease on the building and renovations began.

Progress was slowed for many months however, as the COVID-19 pandemic threw a monkey wrench in the process. Through the pandemic, the group never stopped planning, and working to raise money.

“In 2020 and 2021, not much happened, we had a lot of bottle drives that have carried over until today,” she said. “We also continued to utilize our foster network to find animals home, so we were still able to help.”

The new facility is spacious and features all the amenities animals, visitors, and the staff need to fulfill the mission of Second Chance. After entering the facility, visitors are greeted by the Second Chance Resale Shop, which offers recycled or repurposed items a second chance to find new homes.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz A small dog named Tucker walks down the hallway lined with dog kennels at Second Chance Animal Shelter on Tuesday. Tucker is just visiting the shelter for a few hours, but soon there will be other animals housed there who will need homes.

The store features many pet products, home decor, seasonal decorations, and even a special blend of coffee named after the shelter. Bloom said the store is one of the main sources of revenue and, so far, has been well received by local shoppers.

Currently, Second Chance operates an animal foster program that connects animals in need of homes with people who can house them temporarily. They also help to arrange permanent adoptions.

“We primarily use social media and our partners to find fosters who house the animals until we can find them forever homes,” Bloom said. “We set up meet-and-greets and the animal stays in the home, which is better than a shelter. It also helps us because we can learn more about the pet, like how it is with kids and other animals.”

Although it will be some time before people can go into the shelter to visit or adopt a new pet, Bloom said there is a great amount of pride the group and volunteers share for what has already been accomplished and they are excited for what the future holds.

She said the group and facility would not be realities if it wasn’t for the buy-in from local supporters.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz A Christmas tree and other holiday decor take up a section of the Second Chance Resale Shop in Alpena. Revenue from the store helps to fund the shelter and its services.

“The community support has been overwhelming and it truly has been a community project right from the beginning,” she said. “The list of people that made this possible is too long to name. This isn’t a one person shelter or one group shelter, it is truly a community shelter and it is the drive and dedication of many to make it possible.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz The new Second Chance Animal Shelter in Alpena has a clean and modern look on its exterior and will feature all of the modern amenities shelters need to house animals and find them homes.


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